What’s on My Bookshelf: Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier (PlayStation Game)

Jak and Daxter cover image: Jak and Daxter headshots and an advanced aircraft being chase and fired on by another aircraft over a blue waterfall.
Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jak_and_Daxter:_The_Lost_Frontier

So, this is a game that I bought because it is part of the Jak and Daxter series. I enjoyed Jak 3 and Jak X Combat Racing. I thought that I would also enjoy this one, but unfortunately, Naughty Dog, the original creators of the series, moved on to work on what I presume would become the Uncharted series. The studio that took over, High Impact Games, while talented, just didn’t manage to match the same level of storytelling and characterization of the Naughty Dog created games in the series. This is one that had potential, but just didn’t come together. It felt like someone else “appropriating” a series by its original creator, but didn’t have the same level of inventiveness and creativity that made the original series so special.

Critique, Not Trashing

While there’s a lot of trashing other people’s work on the internet these days (and while that’s the thing to do), it’s not what I’m going to do. While I bought the game (& have it here still–I didn’t trade it in or anything), I quickly grew bored of the game and didn’t finish it. I think I abandoned it after the third major level. The story introduced a new set of characters and one who was a new potential rival to Jak for Kira’s affections, but he didn’t work at all as either a character or a plot device. I just recently watched a Let’s Play to see the complete ending of the game (again, I abandoned it myself early on), and even watching the game-play, there was just something off about the writing in general, and the character in particular.

Jak, Not Jak

The same could be said of the protagonist, Jak, who along with his side-kick Daxter, are the heart and soul of the series. While they do quip with one another, they aren’t truly characters in the way they were in other Jak games, especially 1 & 3. I’ve played and finished the entire Jak series (except for Jak 2 as it was too hard to go back to after finishing, 3 and then one). I went on to Jak X: Combat Racing when I abandoned Jak 2 and the gang were right on form. Cruising online, others note that this is the worst of the Jak games–while I won’t go that far, it certainly is missing that extra special sauce that Naughty Dog was able to deliver in the original games. I think it would have been better if the studio, High Impact, had been allowed to work on their own IP, where they could have developed their own characters, rather than trying to mimic what Naughty Dog had already done. Yes, I know the game is a port to the PS2 of a PSP game, but still, when it bears the Jak and Daxter name brand, there are certain expectations that name come with and, for me, the title just didn’t reach them due to story and characterization issues.

Overall Grade: I

Okay, so its not fair for me to rate a game that I didn’t finish–I had to experience the story through Let’s Plays and they aren’t a true indication of a game’s game-play, just the game’s narrative. The fact that I pride myself on getting to the end to see the credits run at the very least, and the fact that I couldn’t bring myself to do that for this game, however, should say how disappointed I was in it, however. This is one of those games that could have been, should have been, great, but ultimately, for me, it wasn’t.

Oh well, not so fond memories for this one . . . still, hats off to the devs for finishing it. There are so many “unfinished” games these days (Mass Effect Andromeda, I’m looking at you), that at least they have that as a kudos to them).

Sidney




  • Current Work-in-Progress: The Independent (Sci-Fi Short-Story – 2nd Draft)
  • Current Work-in-Progress: Project Star (Sci-Fi Short-Story -1st Draft)
  • Current Work-in-Progress: Ship of Shadows (Sci-Fi Graphic Novel – Script, Issue # 2, Currently on Script Page 32)
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